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Women, Knowledge and Legal Reality: The Dichotomy between the Public and Private Domain

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  • Grace Emmanuel Kaka

Abstract

The traditional notion which sees States as an abuser of human rights made international laws to focus on States as the major agents of human rights violation, thereby excluding from the public scrutiny abuses in the private realm. This marked the beginning of the private and public divide on issues of human rights. The position of non-interference of the state or its agencies in the private and family affairs of citizens was later seen to be reflected in the laws of individual States. The effect of this dichotomy has spelt doom on the women folks as some men have taken advantage of this “family or private immunity†hence the incessant cases of domestic violence. With agitations, protests and oppositions by the feminist groups, mainly in the 60’s, the traditional view as to privacy on issues concerning the rights of women had shifted and has increasingly come to assume a public dimension. This recent development however have come to be threatened by yet another factor of great concern namely, the universality and relativism approach to human rights. This paper shall discuss the role that universalism and relativism has played in encouraging the public and private divide, the successes recorded so far; pointing out that more is still needed to be done to protect and ensure that the rights of women are safeguarded. The paper concludes by recommending that in the face of these undeniable realities, a cross-cultural approach is the solution.

Suggested Citation

  • Grace Emmanuel Kaka, 2015. "Women, Knowledge and Legal Reality: The Dichotomy between the Public and Private Domain," Journal of Public Policy & Governance, Research Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 2(1), pages 30-39.
  • Handle: RePEc:rss:jnljpg:v2i1p4
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